Exploring Real and Imaginary Place Names of Medieval French Romance: A Network Visualization Approach
|Wrisley, David Joseph
|digital humanities;medieval French;visualization;spatial humanities;networks;Louis-Fernand Flutre
|David Joseph Wrisley (2018). Exploring Real and Imaginary Place Names of Medieval French Romance: A Network Visualization Approach. In Déborah González, (Eds.), Humanidades Digitales: Miradas hacia la Edad Media (pp. 245–260). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.
|This article explores a method of looking at both real and imaginary place name occurrences that co-occur in a corpus of medieval French courtly literature. It uses a dataset of normalized place name spellings and the names of works in which they are found, extracted automatically from a digitized canonical place name index, Louis-Fernand Flutre’s Table des noms propres avec toutes leurs variants figurant dans les romans du Moyen Âge écrits en français ou en provençal et actuellement publiés ou analysés (1962). Instead of visualizing this geographic information on a map, we visualize the data as a force-directed graph of places and works. The method offers a means of accounting for the recurrence of both real and imaginary names, the latter being unmappable on normative map interfaces. Important findings of this article’s analysis are threefold: many places that are difficult to geo-locate are also mentioned only once in Flutre’s corpus of 221 works; subgenres of romance have a kind of spatial imprint, that is, many of the same places are shared between them; and at the center of the network of shared places in medieval French romances sit a number of highly weighted, that is, quite recurrent Mediterranean and central European places.
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